Matzo Ball Soup Mix Review.

You might remember, way back in Lune, that I bought myself some soup as part of my 30 day present extravaganza.

In the past I’ve bought the Matzo Ball mix but never with the soup. I like to make my soup myself. Soup from a mix didn’t seem all that appetizing.

Well, obviously I am dumb Dumb with a capital D because this mix was AMAZING. No. Seriously. Read on.

This is what it looked like:

I got the mix at Save on Foods in their World Foods section. (Don’t we live in the world too? ) Right next to the East Coast stuff ( Aren’t the Maritimes a part of this country?)

You mix up the matzo meal with two eggs, some oil and water according to these directions:

Give it a chill and roll them into balls.

You cook the balls in the soup mix until they puff up like this:

And enjoy!

The whole process couldn’t have been easier. I enjoyed them on a wet and dreary day and they were just the thing. They are economical too. This one package which cost me 6 dollaroonies or so, fed me for 3 meals.

How did they taste? Divine!

That soup mix was SO good. Perfectly seasoned without being salty. So clear and clean tasting with a very nice celery flavour. I didn’t end up using all the soup and I thought nothing of adding the remainder to my precious master stock. The matzo balls were weighty and satisfying without being too dense. They were creamy and flavourful. I do believe, this is my favourite soup of all time. It’s well worth the try.

What’s your favourite soup? Is it from a can or mix, or homemade?

Beyond Meat. First Try.

I was so excited when my local grocery store started selling Beyond Meat burger patties. I’ve been slowly going “off” beef for the last little bit ( find it smells gross when it cooks) but still want to enjoy that meaty and umami taste us meat eaters love.

We paid 6.99 for two patties – on sale- and this is what we got:

They felt pretty fragile but I had no problems getting them into an oiled pan where I was instructed to cook them on each side for 4 mins a side on med-high heat.

Compared to a beef burger patty these gals are higher in calories than a beef patty (which is 204 calories per 100 grams.) These patties are 13 grams heavier, with an extra 66 calories. BUT I was eating them for my own anti yuck factor, not calorie count and it made no difference to me. The Beyond Meat burger also has 5 more grams of protein than an average beef patty but 226 (!!!!) more mg of sodium than a beef patty. So there’s that. It also has 0 grams of cholesterol.

They cooked up nicely even giving off “juice” in the process:

Here is the finished product:

A little dark but nothing major.

How was the taste? Good! ( I did have a photo of the inside of them in a burger bite but I accidently deleted it when I was clearing off photos whilst on a trip. Oooops. Sorry)

The patty had a great mouth feel. A good give in each bite and a soft interior with NO hard crunchy bits. They tasted smoky, like they’d been grilled. They tasted like MEAT, in my opinion. The Hubs said he liked them but wasn’t as enthusiastic as I was. ( Not many people are as enthusiastic as I am )

I’d eat them again. I’d choose them over a beef patty from the gorcery store for sure. But I do have concerns with the sodium levels so …not all the time and when I do the work and find grass fed, humanely raised, not smelly as it cooks, cattle to buy, I’d eat that instead.

I think they still have some work to do but for now, these are a good choice every once in awhile.

Bountiful Farmer’s Market

Edmonton just got a brand new farmer’s market. At my count the new arrival makes 14! Wow! We sure do like our markets …

Bountiful Farmer’s Market is located at 3696 97 Street, ( Edmonton, Alberta. obviously) in a large building with lots of parking. That didn’t help us because this is a popular place! The streets were lined with cars and there were people everywhere trying to find a spot. We found ours on the street and it was an easy 3 min walk to the market. Arrival time…noonish on a Saturday.

The place was bustling and full of people but not crowded and claustophic like The Old Strathcona Market. I don’t think I felt the need to keep my eye on the exits once, woot woot!

The vendors are laid out in rows and there are food vendors and a place to sit under the coolest art treatment:

We had ourselves a wander and found the selection to be varied, unique and interesting. There was food – premade and in it’s raw form- art, sweets, booze, flowers…all sorts of stuff. Full Vendor List HERE. The Hubs and I found everyone to be friendly and engaging. I almost don’t want to talk to people because then I’m compelled to buy ALL their stuff, ha ha! Somehow I was able to be discerning and we only made a few purchases:

YUM! I bought these based on a generous sample. They are a cross between a dumpling and a perogy I was told. What they are is DELICIOUS! I’d never heard of them before and I’m glad to be so enlightened. I’ll be having this in a soup some time in the future. You can also have them plain along side accompaniments of your choosing, with sauce to dip. Very flavourful, moist and savoury. Check out Siberian Meat Dumplings.

Hubs also bought himself from craft beer from …

He chose their Day Drifting Pale Ale, a seasonal offering, and has been enjoying it. Ribstone Creek Brewery is located in Edgerton, Alberta. I am not a beer person but I had a wee taste and was struck by how clean it tasted. A quality product, right there.

Then we stopped in to chat with a very nice gent, brought over by the smell of his product: Twiggy Sticks Biltong!

In addition to the Twiggy Sticks he was cooking up this beautiful coiled sausage. It was SO flavourful and not at all greasy! Like surprisingly, not greasy. It’s in my freezer and I cant wait to cook it up. I love sausage but you know…the fat content makes it a treat as opposed to a regular option. Not anymore!

Not only does this product have the COOLEST name, these caramels are truly otherworldly. I should know, I make a highly acclaimed caramel myself:

Kick Ass Caramels are a force to be reckoned with. Big chunks of buttery, creamy flavour bombs these lovelies are indeed! There was a full range of interesting options to choose from and loads and LOADS of samples. As you can see we bought Sambuca and Chai Latte. Some of the other options were Coconut Rum, Salted Caramel and a whole lot more. The vendor was a hoot, super down to earth and authentic. She stole my heart forever when she referred to me as a “broad” and now I want her as my BFF X 11ty! ❤ Ha ha. The Hubs and I are fighting over who “owns” these boxes and that man is not into sweets so….yeah. Do yourself a favour and buy yourself a treat.

And do yourself a favour and head on down to this market. We enjoyed it. It’s well thought out and we felt comfortable there. It’s open year round, three days a week!

A Mother’s Reckoning.

Book:

A Mother’s Reckoning. Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy. Sue Klebold

Wow. Just Wow. First of all fair warning. If you have any kind of trauma injury this book may trigger you. There is absolutely nothing graphic in it but I found myself having to read it in bits and spurts because I was getting amped up. I bit off all my fingernails…I ate out half my pantry, ha ha! ( I still read it in 7 hours though! ) Also, I found myself with racing thoughts at bedtime and the anxiety brought up some well buried events from my childhood. So, take care. I regret nothing and think it was well worth it though because this book…oh this book!

I found great comfort in this book. I’m the mother of a child who has made some bad choices and I have felt all kinds of turbulant, complicated, gut wrenching emotions during the course of that experience. As Sue Kelbold struggles to make sense of why her child did what he did and what her own part was, she takes the reader along with her and imparts great wisdom derived both from her experience AND from experts she meets along the way. It all felt like a balm for my soul.

I was left feeling like there is no easy answer. Good, bad or indifferent. I was left feeling nothing but compassion for every human being who struggles, with anything. I just wanted to give the world a great big hug. We are all just babies really. Vulnerable to the scary and the unknown. And yet we keep trying! How amazing is that!? I felt like if this woman can live her life the way she did and have this happen in her family, then shitty things can happen to any of us regardless of our best intentions, knowledge, beliefs and actions. We can try our best, and our best might not be good enough. The perfectionist in me struggles with this but it is a stone cold fact! I find it comforting. I don’t want to stop trying my best but I think it gives me room to let myself off the hook for all the things I cant control, yet blame myself for!

There is a lot of grace and kindness amongst these a pages too. Sue Klebold is unflinching and sincere. She makes zero excuses and only seeks to understand. The bits of kindness she was shown in the wake of this tragedy and the kindness she showed others astounded me, and filled my heart to bursting.

We all like to think we’re impervious to things like this and when it happens to people boy oh boy do we like to play arm chair expert don’t we? ” Well, she mustn’t have been a good parent if her kid did something like!” we expound sitting on top of our very high -and very wobbly- horses. Until something like that does happens to US and then suddenly, we’re not so sure anymore. Of anything.

I relate to this deeply as the mother of a child with an addiction problem.

I relate to this deeply as the wife of a person with a brain illness.

I even relate to this deeply as the mother of a young mother!

Us humans love to judge and think we know better. It makes us feel safe in a world that is nothing but chaotic.

This was an excellent read. Very well written and put together. Sue Klebold is very human and very likable. There is great wisdom in this one. Well done! I highly recommend.

Plant Medicine – Using Cannabis Spray.

After using my spray a few more times I now feel confident enough to share my testimony!

I bought this stuff here:

It even comes with an official seal:

It’s a non flavoured spray and there are something like 400 sprays in that wee little bottle.

It’s called Balance because its a balanced mix -or close to it- of CBD( 12.20 mg) and THC (13.20 )

CBD is the stuff the medical community is all excited about. THC is the stuff that makes you feel funny! So you can see, there is very little THC in this stuff!

I was told that with this particular product, my mind would stay clear but my body would become really relaxed. It would be good for the pain in my bicep and later, once that resolved itself, it’d be good for calming my anxiety too. I would be able to use it – after experimenting with the dosage safely first- and be able to go to work! That’s how clear my mind would be.

Good! In the past I’d hated feeling high. I wanted to be melty and gooey but not paranoid and stupid, laughing at any dumb thing or freaking out because “everyone can tell I’m high”.

It was recommended that I start out with a small dose of two or three sprays. The gent at the counter actually suggested ONE, since I hadn’t used it in 35 years so one is what I started myself at.

I was honestly really nervous to try it that first time. I had a problem with the unknown of the whole thing. The gent who helped me in the store told me that while, there was a certain consistency to how a body would react, every body is different and everyone reacts in a different way.

There was only one way to find out how that way would be for me so I took the safety seal off, figured out how to use the locking mechanism and gave myself a spray.

Right in the back of my throat.

Don’t do that!

I felt like I was having an allergic reaction! But I think it was just poor application that made the back of my throat itchy.

Under the tongue or in the lip like a spot of “chew” is a much better idea!

It tasted kind of skunky but tolerable.

Within 15 mins I was feeling the effects. My body remembered it right away-humans have cannabinoid receptors. Did you know that?- and soon I was feeling it most strongly in my body. It was very strange at first, to be so relaxed. I didn’t notice my arm at all. (Which by that time was not hurting as bad as it had been) I checked my eyes in the mirror and they looked normal. I felt mostly normal, still clear headed. I was able to play Mahjong and hold normal conversations. There was still this sort of pull to go “into myself” and be alone with the relaxed feeling but it wasn’t so strong that I wasn’t able to tear myself away. I was still social and coherent.

I went to bed shortly after that and slept for TEN FULL HOURS!

The relaxed feeling lasted for days after too. I wasn’t like a puddle of goo or anything, I was just … chill. Calm. Unbothered.

My second does was after doing… something…I can’t remember what … gardening probably! I took one spray again and went straight to bed. This time my experience was kind of meh.

My mistake was taking it, waiting 5 mins and then brushing my teeth. I felt it less than the time before and it only lasted about an hour and then my mind was back to it’s usual self, chattering away. When I finally did fall asleep though, I slept well.

The third time was a one spray experience too but this time, I gave myself time before bed and while I was happy with the way my body felt, my damn mind would not shut up.

The thing about being super relaxed like that is that any part of you that is a sort of “problem” spot reeeeeally becomes more noticeable because everything else is nice and chill. My jaw for instance. My bruxism is BAD. And of course, my monkey mind! This is a very common occurrence according to my internet research, SO keep this in mind if you intend to try it too.

Now, the last time I tried it, was after a day of naughty gardening again. (Naughty because I’m not supposed to be using my arm! ) This time I used TWO sprays to see if it helped the monkey mind – it did not- and while it was a little more melty making, it wasn’t long lasting and I woke up with arm pain in the night. ( I had really over done it that day) I got up to pee and stretch my arm and then fell promptly back asleep so while I did still feel some pain, being able to fall back asleep was definitely an improvement.

I’ve tried it a few more times and each time was different but positive.

What’s my final verdict?

It’s still evolving, really.

It’s great for sleeping. It’s great for relaxing the body. It seems to have helped me achieve a greater state of mental calm- even with my monkey mind!- in the every day, just from a few uses by sort of calming down my central nervous system. It allows me to be clear headed and function when I use it.

I’m not sure how I feel about going to work while using it though. I think my anxiety is somewhat helpful in keeping me on my toes…but I would be able to if I chose to do so.

I can’t really say what it did for pain because I haven’t used it while in a highly pained state. It did help me relax enough and not think about the discomfort I was feeling though…it wasn’t useless like the Toradol, by any means. And while I did wake up once in the night, in pain, I was able to fall back asleep. That has never happened before…I think in higher doses, the pain relief would be good- higher doses comes with foggy brain though but if I was desperate, I would choose that!

It showed me my trouble spot- monkey mind and jaw clenching- which I appreciated. I’m more conscious of tending to those things now.

It surprised me by showing me something else…I want that floaty brain feeling! I felt like it was missing from the experience. I would LOVE to get my mind to shut up for once!

Whaaaaaat?!

I know right?!

I never, in a million years thought I’d want to feel like that again but I find myself craving it. The body relaxation feels incomplete without it.

It’s highly, highly unlikely I’ll be seeking that feeling out for the same reasons I don’t seek out my beloved Ativan, ha ha, but I wanted to mention it as part of my experience, in the interest of honesty and authenticity. Instead, I’ll mediate “like my hair is on fire” and calm my monkey mind the old fashioned way. It’s nice to know the option’s there … but I’m not sure it’d be wise of me to use it for that.

All in all, I would recommended this product to first time users, for sure. (After you do your own research, of course!) It felt safe and I didn’t have any weird or negative side effects. It’s become a part of my regular routine. I use it any time I feel like I’ve over worked my arm or if I’ve had a “big day” and am too jacked up to sleep. The good side effects are long lasting. I can take two sprays once in a week and I’m still sleeping well and feeling unbothered four whole days later! It’s worth it, just for that!

So there you have it. I hope reading about my experience helps you if you need it. If you have any thoughts or questions, I’m here to help if I can!

Plant Medicine- Buying Cannabis.

Cannabis has been legal in Canada since October, 2018. It’s been used openly since pretty much forever though and I’m thinking that’s one reason why it was finally legalized for medicinal AND recreational use. People just didn’t care about no stinkin’ laws and smoked it anyway!

Photo by Brandon Nickerson on Pexels.com

The history of cannabis in all aspects -socially, medicinally, legally- is extremely interesting if you’re in to such things. We’ve been using the stuff as medicine for ages AND before prohibition it was most common!

I know right?! The things you learn…anyway, I wont get into all of that here but if it’s your jam, look it up. I found the whole thing fascinating!

I don’t smoke, myself. I tried as a teen but didn’t like the foggy brain feeling so I had my last puff some 35 years ago. In later years, as I became more Witchy, I became intrigued by it’s medicinal properties – I am the person who seriously thought about growing poppies and harvesting her own opium for pain relief – but up until recently, I haven’t really needed such a thing. I believe strongly in the “magic” of plant medicine though. My aunt owned and operated her own research facility ,studying the effects of cannabis on cancer so it’s something that runs in the family!

Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem on Pexels.com

As my regular readers know, I tore my bicep last week. That is a pain that was something else! Most unbearable for the first few days. I’m talking a nine out of ten! My son could hear the pain in my voice when he called me one night and he got really mad at me for allowing myself to get like that. Don’t get me wrong. I WAS actually on pain meds! Toradol. They worked for about 2 hours and were pretty much useless after that. Plus, they come with HUGE scary side effects for things which I already have issues with. No thanks!

SO, at my kid’s urging, fueled by pain and a real need to get off of a drug that wasn’t helping me, I made my way to a local cannabis shop.
I was curious about the whole thing but it all felt very normal. Just like going to the health food store or something!

I chose Fire and Flower, here in Edmonton. Their Namao location.

I was greeted at the door by a fellow and asked for my ID. I wrinkled my nose a bit at the smell. There IS an odor. Slight but there nonetheless. So be mindful of that, if you can’t stand the smell…it wasn’t enough to deter me from my end goal.

ANYway, from what I could see the place was bright and clean. It reminded me of a department store cosmetic counter, with backlit glass shelves and counters, which held smoking apparatus and the like! I didn’t get a great look though because I was quickly ushered over to a wall of choices, by my greeter gent.

The wall was full of pegs with little cards denoting the strains and names of the various products one could buy. After determining my needs, the young gent – who was a very mainstream kind of guy, for anyone who cares to know- educated me and affirmed the knowledge I already had, helping me make my choice.

I’d come in for oil but left with a spray which turned out to be exactly the best choice for me. I was guided expertly toward the best thing for my needs too. There was no force or awkwardness in any of this, just a real desire to help me have a decent experience and get the help I needed. I so appreciate that! I took my little card up to the counter, purchased my product and that was that. Easy Peasy!

The whole experience was pleasant and professional. For anyone worried, this is not one of those musty dank shops filled to the rafters with crap and people who are “stoked”. Although those are still out there, if you want one! This was well run, well staffed and very consumer friendly. The guy who was helping me was able to read me right away – dorky Grandma, ha ha – and treated me as such. I felt safe and respected and the whole thing felt so normal and civilized.

I say all this because I think some people are reeeeeally put off by cannabis culture and maybe that stops them from investigating these new options. Never fear, my experience was a pretty normal one and I feel good about going back there, should I choose to do so in future!

Coming Soon: Trying Cannabis Spray. I’ve taken it twice with mixed results so I want to try it a few more times before I give you a final verdict -if there is such a thing. Anyway, hang in there for that!

Have a groovy Wednesday!

A Nice Lunch Out.

You know when you’re grocery shopping and you just want to get the job done so you’re doing your thing but, there are people casually strolling through the aisles looking at everything and blocking you at every effing turn?

Annoying right?!

I am that annoying person.

Sorry.

(I’m not sorry)

In my defense I only do it at certain stores and one of those stores happens to be: Italian Centre Shop.

This place is a small chain of locally owned- Edmonton, AB- and operated grocery stores that sell Italian products AND…they carry stuff from around the world.

The world!

It’s the coolest place ever. I almost never go unless I have a good stack of bills because I will BUY ALL THE THINGS and I don’t want lack of cash to limit any of my choices. There are so many choices! They have an amazing deli, bakery and café. They bring in locally sourced items and have specials and deals and events and are active in the community.

Prices are reasonable, products are interesting and of quality, service is friendly and efficient. It’s basically one of my favourite places. Ever!

I’ve been a fan for almost 9 years and while we usually grab sandwiches from the café to go, we’ve never actually ordered a full meal and sat down for it.

We – the Hubs and I -did just that on a cold day in February.

Our location of choice? The southside on 104a Street. The lunch? Soup and sandwich.

It was the daily special and if memory serves me, it was only 9.98. That golden bowl of loveliness was Chicken & Rice and that deceptively looking simple sandwich was … I can’t remember. Sorry! It had sausage, fresh mozzarella , artichokes, a pepper spread … (CALABRESE! That’s the name of the sandwich. Calabrese! ) and lettuce. I could eat 900 of those things…

The soup was thick with rice, veggies and real chicken. The broth was rich and fragrant with just enough seasoning to be satisfyingly salty but not overdone. It was juuuust right. The sandwich had a nice mix of creamy, crunchy, salty, smooth, spiciness that seems to get tastier and tastier with each bite. I could have done without the lettuce. I found it added nothing really and was annoying to bite through. This is probably a personal thing! Some people like it, some people don’t … I couldn’t be bothered to pull it out though so it obviously wasn’t horrible.

ANYhoo, it was a great meal at an affordable price in a busy little neighbourhood café . It would benefit your stomach and soul to stop in sometime. And if you just want to shop, I promise to try and be more mindful of my surroundings!